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Vayakhel Summaries

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778-2018

“Bringing G-d Home”

Just as the Mincha, the meal offering that was offered in the ancient Temple, sanctified everything it touched, so do we hope that the Passover symbols and rituals will sanctify and elevate all those who experience them at the Passover Seder.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777-2017

Bezalel–Master Craftsman, Master Teacher”

Bezalel, the chief architect of the Mishkan, was not only a master craftsman, he was a master teacher as well.

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Vayakhel 5776-2016

“The Wise-Hearted Person”

The Torah’s understanding of wisdom is a far cry from the contemporary understanding of wisdom and the measurement of Intelligence Quotients. The Al-mighty did not want His “house” to be built by the most skilled workmen or the most intelligent workmen. The house of G-d needed to be built by “Chachmei lev,” by wise-hearted people who were warm-hearted and prepared to invest their very hearts and souls into the dwelling place which would be the focus of the Divine Presence.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5775-2015

“Bringing Heaven Down To Earth”

The Biblical narrative describing the final erecting of the Tabernacle teaches that human beings can indeed build an earthly dwelling place for the Divine Presence, and they can even bring the Divine Presence down to earth.

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Vayakhel 5774-2014

“Lip Service is Hardly Enough”

The Torah commentators point to the subtle but profound differences between the charitable giving of the People of Israel to the Golden Calf and their donations of varied materials that were used to build the Tabernacle.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5773-2013

“The Jewish Connection”

The minutely detailed architectural plans of the Tabernacle and the precise designs of the priestly vestments underscore the interconnectedness of all the vessels and vestments. Interconnectedness is a vital feature of human life, and a most profound element of the Jewish religion.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5772-2012

“A United People Build the Tabernacle”

What were the special qualities of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), which ensured its durability, that were not found in the permanent Temples of Jerusalem?

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Vayakhel 5771-2011

“Straying from Lofty Spiritual Moorings”

Not everybody is impressed by the people of Israel’s generosity when donating to the Tabernacle. One sage maintains that the people gave far more willingly to the Golden Calf than to the Tabernacle. Might this be an unredeemable stain on the people’s record?

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5769-2009

“All For the Sake of Heaven”

Parashiot Vayakhel-Pekudei are, in essence, repetitions of the instructions regarding building the sanctuary and manufacturing the priestly vestment. The multiple repetitions come to teach that every action in building G-d’s dwelling place must be done for the sake of Heaven. So too must all the actions of every Jew be for the sake of Heaven.

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Vayakhel 5768-2008

“Rochel the Riveter”

Those who study parashat Vayakhel feel, at times, like throwing up their hands and saying, “Enough of the excruciating detail about the building of the Tabernacle.” Nevertheless, there are always new and revolutionary insights that may be found when studying the nuances of the texts carefully. Parashat Vayakhel teaches about the special role that the women played in building the Tabernacle and conveys the important message about the primacy of the Jewish home that must never be compromised.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5767-2007

“Leadership and its Perils ”

While leadership comes with many perks, honors and often extraordinary rewards, leadership has great perils and is often a no-win situation. At least that’s the way our commentators in parashat Vayakhel portray the perils of leadership for the ancient princes of the tribe in their donations to the Tabernacle.

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Vayakehel-Pekudei 5766-2006

“Lessons of Leadership from the Resume of an Architect”

What qualities are needed by successful leaders and artisans? The Torah’s comments in parashat Vayakhel about Bezalel, the chief craftsman of the Tabernacle, reveal to us some very important Torah insights concerning leadership.

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Vayakhel 5765-2005

“Bezalel’s Artistic Legacy”

Throughout the ages, Judaism has struggled with its mixed attitude toward art and sculpture. One of the few unconditionally positive statements about art is the Torah’s description in parashat Vayakhel of Bezalel’s many talents. Aside from his prodigious skills, Bezalel was also a master teacher of art, and it is not unlikely that, because of his artistry and singular devotion, we today enjoy the aesthetic gifts that have been passed down through him from generation to generation.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5764-2004

“Celebrating the Month of Nisan”

The Jewish month of Nisan, the first month that was celebrated by Israel after the birth of the Jewish nation, is heralded each year by an additional reading from the Torah on Shabbat HaChodesh. This special Shabbat serves as a reminder to Jews that G-d grants His people solace in times of grief, support in the face of challenge, and light in the darkest of hours. The month of Nisan signals that redemption and renewal are in the air.

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Vayakhel 5763-2003

“Defining True Generosity”

Although people tend to say that generosity is simply giving of one’s wherewithal to help another, Judaism defines true generosity as giving with a full and willing heart. It is the willing heart that determines true and genuine generosity.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5762-2002

“The Original Jewish Renewal Movement”

On the Sabbath prior to the new month of Nisan, a portion known as Parashat Hachodesh is read, announcing the arrival of the new month of Nisan, the first month of the year. Nisan is the month of redemption and salvation. It is a time when the Jewish people burst forth from darkness and despair to allow the glory of G-d to shine forth. This is the original Jewish renewal movement.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5761-2001

“Jews Sanctify Time, Not Space”

Unexpectedly, in the middle of the plans for the construction of the Tabernacle, the Torah in parashat Vayakhel exhorts the Jewish people to observe the Sabbath. While the Tabernacle and the Temple were sacred spaces, far more important was the sanctity of time. If we lose or forfeit space, land or earth, they can often be recovered. But time that passes can never be recovered. Time is truly Israel.

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Vayakhel 5760-2000

“Jewish Women and Jewish Destiny”

We are told in parashat Vayakhel that the Jewish women responded immediately to the appeals that were made by Moses for gold for building the Tabernacle, removing their precious jewelry and rushing them to the Tabernacle. This was only one of the many heroic actions that the women of Israel performed. The key role that the women of Israel played in the redemption of the people of Israel is confirmed by the remarkable rabbinic statement asserting that only in the merit of the righteous women, were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt. It is quite likely that this is true not only of the generation of Egypt, but in all subsequent generations as well.

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